Initial talks are underway to reopen Atlanta Waterworks

Councilwoman: Proposal could be introduced in early 2014


  • 'City of Atlanta... Tear down that fence.'

Atlanta Waterworks, the Westside greenspace that closed prior to the 1996 Olympics, could once again become a vibrant public park.

Atlanta City Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean is hoping to reopen the park that's adjacent to Howell Mill Road and 17th Street. She says residents from Berkeley Park and other northwest Atlanta communities have complained to her about the lack of access to nearby parks, which has sparked some grassroots efforts that have called upon the city to restore the grassy knolls surrounding one of its water reservoirs.

Like the city's Fort Peachtree facility, another proposed park in northwest Atlanta that could be reopened next year, the move would likely require Council's approval along with a memorandum of understanding that transfers management responsibilities from the Department of Watershed Management to the city's parks department. The greenspace, Adrean says, also runs adjacent to the Atlanta Beltline's northwest portion. Because of that, she wants to convert the area into a "passive space that people can be used for picnics."

Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner George Dusenbury confirmed that conversations between officials from the Beltline, DWM, and his department have taken place. He thinks something could happen "sooner rather than later," but noted that few details have been agreed upon so far. Much of that has to do with some facility repairs and security risks, namely the possible water contamination of the city's water supply.

"Mayor Reed is very committed to expanding park accessibility, he says. "But we don't know what the reopening of Waterworks will look like. ... There's higher sense of vulnerability. Waterworks literally backs up on some of ponds that holds our drinking water."

Adrean thinks a proposal to reopen Waterworks could happen next January or February. DWM Commissioner Jo Ann Macrina notes, however, that plans are in the early stages.

"We have barely even touched on that topic," Macrina says. "We have started thinking about a concept plan on that but we don't have much on that right now."

NOTE: A small edit was made to this story that clarified Macrina's comments.